Neighborhood in Khan Yunis destroyed. Photo: Unicef/Eyad El Baba.

After leaving southern Gaza in ruins, the Israeli Army began withdrawing its troops from the region. The measure was announced this Sunday (7), by the Israel Defense Forces in a statement sent to the press. The action takes place on the date that the war completes six months and after strong international pressure with resolutions approved by the Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council. The United States, once a great supporter of the far-right Israeli government, has now supported a ceasefire.

The international community’s fear is of an advance on Rafah, where most Palestinians took shelter after Israeli bombings. On March 15, Israel approved a plan to invade the city that has served as a refuge for 1.5 million civilians. So far the attack, alleged to eliminate Hamas, has not been carried out.

With the retention of Khan Yunis’ troops, several families have returned to the city left in rubble, according to international news agencies. Only one military base will remain in the south of the territory.

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According to the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA), more than 88,000 buildings in Gaza were destroyed or damaged.

The Army statement states that the 98th Commando Division of the Israel Defense Forces has completed its mission in Khan Yunis and is leaving the Gaza Strip “to recover and prepare for future operations.”

Despite this withdrawal, the remaining troops, from the 162nd Division and the Nahal Brigade, will remain in the ‘barrier’ between the south and north of Gaza.

six months of war

The conflict that began on October 7, 2023 has completed six months. With the initial attack by Hamas that claimed 1,200 victims and hundreds of hostages, Israel responded disproportionately and devastated the territory of Gaza, leaving a trail of more than 33,000 dead Palestinians – most of them women and children.

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So far there has only been a period of pause in the conflict for the exchange of hostages. While 133 people are still with Hamas, the number of Palestinian hostages and prisoners in Israel exceeds 7,000, according to Addameer – a Palestinian non-governmental organization, based in Ramallah.


This Sunday negotiations for a permanent ceasefire will resume in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. In addition to Egyptian diplomacy, representatives from Qatar, the United States and Israel are involved. Hamas also sent representatives to call for an end to the offensive against Palestinian territory.

Despite the attempt to build an agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before a meeting with his ministers that he would not negotiate a truce without the full release of hostages by Hamas.

Last week, thousands of Israelis demonstrated in front of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, in Jerusalem, against the far-right coalition led by Netanyahu. Among the main demands, in addition to the resignation of the current rulers, the request for a ceasefire and an agreement with Hamas for the release of the hostages.

*With information from AFP and Reuters


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